Could Las Vegas pull a double?
We know our city is in serious contention to land the 2016 Republican National Convention, with a bid led by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki. Las Vegas has already survived the first round of eliminations, and a second round is coming up in May or June. If we make that cut, the Republican National Committee’s full site-selection committee will make a visit, and a decision will be made by late summer or fall.
But now, there’s a chance we could get the Democrats, too!
The Review-Journal’s Laura Myers reported last week that Las Vegas is among the cities the Democratic National Committee invited to submit bids for its 2016 convention. Other cities that got invites were Atlanta; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Miami; Nashville; Orlando; New York; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
Phoenix, Cleveland and Columbus were on the GOP list as well, although Phoenix and Columbus didn’t make the second round of cuts.
Republicans and Democrats have held their conventions in the same city six times in U.S. history, although it hasn’t happened since 1972 in Miami. But just think of the opportunity for bipartisan cooperation that could occur here: Republicans and Democrats, sharing the costs to build convention infrastructure they could both use at the Las Vegas Convention Center, thus saving donors to both parties money. A single, reusable playbook for security and transportation. Not one, but two major economic money bombs for Las Vegas. And don’t forget the national attention (read — tons of free advertising) for Las Vegas and its ability to host big events.
It would be awesome, although it has to be considered a definite long shot. Las Vegas bolting from a city that’s never hosted a national political convention ever to nabbing two in a single year? Unlikely. But the fact is, we’ve already hit a milestone: We’re in serious contention for a convention for the first time. Even if 2016 isn’t our year — on either side of the aisle — our day can’t be that far off.
■ For 13 long years after the voters of Nevada made legal medical marijuana part of the state constitution — and commanded the Legislature to authorize appropriate methods for supply of the plant to patients authorized to use it — nothing was done.
The 2013 Legislature finally acted, and the floodgates are open. Clark County reported receiving 206 applications to run dispensaries, growing facilities, production facilities and testing labs from 109 different legal entities on Tuesday, the first deadline for preliminary applications. Suddenly, thanks to an act of the Legislature, medical marijuana has gone mainstream, and mainstream people are jockeying to get into the business.
This was inevitable. Who knows, if marijuana had grown as plentifully as tobacco in certain states, we may have subsidized its growth, advertised its benefits and coddled its corporate farmers all these years instead. But because it was banned by federal fiat (and still sits on the list of drugs the government believes are highly addictive with no medical benefits), it’s remained underground.
Tuesday’s news should tell everybody marijuana will soon become more widely accepted than it’s ever been, and that efforts to expand its medical use — if not legalize it outright — will continue in Nevada. All it took was one little law.
■ Thanks to everyone who turned out for the Review-Journal’s Hashtags &Headlines event this month, featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. We covered a wide range of topics in a short time, and I hope it was instructive. That’s the purpose of these monthly luncheons, after all: to highlight a particular issue and offer different perspectives.
Next month, we’ll tackle The Education Initiative, the 2 percent margins tax that will appear as Question 3 on the November ballot. The panelists will be political consultant Dan Hart; Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax spokeswoman Karen Griffin; and local numbers guru Jeremy Aguero. It will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, May 19 at Texas Station. Tickets are available on the Review-Journal website. I hope to see you there.
Steve Sebelius is a Las Vegas Review-Journal political columnist who blogs at SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 702-387-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.